LONG DAYS JOURNEY

 

“You’re still here?” your coworkers chide as you arrive at work yet one more day after you said the baby would be born. You realize seven months too late; I should have added two weeks onto the due date when I told them we were expecting.

 

The phone rings and you grab it while putting on your jacket; you run to get some water and leave your coworker three pages of instructions on how to handle the call if it is your wife; you see you have a new voicemail from your wife and you drive home before even listening to it!

 

You race to get home sure she is waiting in the car for you to drive her to the hospital only to walk in the house and find her stenciling the baby’s door with some Winnie the Pooh patterns (see The Nesting Season). Turns out the voicemail said pick up more paint on your way home!

 

GET IN THE CAR!

 

When you and your wife are expecting a child, and it is after the due date (which you will learn is an educated guess at best) the days are about thirty-eight hours long, loaded with false alarms. Every time my wife goes to the bathroom for longer than five minutes, I warm up the car.

 

“What are you doing?” she shouts over the roar of the motor.

 

“Get in we’ll take route number four on our options list and with traffic be there in 12.7 minutes.”

 

“I was only blow drying my hair!” your wife shouts.

 

THE WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART

 

As the days drag on everyone becomes more edgy; you, your wife; relatives; grandparents-to-be; coworkers; neighbors; the mailman. It seems like the baby will never be born and then a new fear hits you, what if my wife has just been putting on weight all these months?

 

False alarm, you tell your colleagues, we weren’t pregnant after all, it was just water weight gain!

 

In the end, the baby arrives when they are good and ready. As you will soon learn, babies do everything on their time schedule, not yours!

 

NESTING, IT’S NOT JUST FOR BIRDS

 

My wife is less than two months away from giving birth and just today she has mentioned a variety of projects that “we” should finish before the baby arrives. They are (deep breath) sweep the garage, add molding to the family room, clean up the backyard, buy and assemble a play structure, paint the kitchen, re-grout the bathroom, cure prickly heat and something to do with organizing an international backgammon competition in Haiti.

 

In short, let the nesting season begin! Just this week I have moved the sofa from one side of the room to the other, sampled three different brands of baby food, re-seeded the lawn, moved the sofa back to its original location, hung some pictures, relocated hung pictures, spackled over the holes where the pictures had hung, painted over the spackle marks that contained the holes where the pictures had hung, and then moved the pictures back to those original locations. “Honey, WE need to take care of these holes in the wall.”

 

I AM NOT PANICKING

 

Basically, the nesting season is the sense of panic your wife feels right before the baby arrives. The house could use a fresh coat of paint, the fixtures need replacing, the cabinets aren’t baby proofed, there aren’t enough flowers in the front yard, I could have done better than you, and on and on it goes.

 

It is difficult to convince your wife that the baby will not be mobile when it initially arrives at the house and flowers in the front yard will not be his primary concern, but you can try. The truth about nesting is that it does not end with the state of the house and surrounding gardens, no-no-no-no.

 

YOU’RE WEARING THAT?

 

Nesting can include the pile of magazines on your dresser, your clothes in the closet, your e-mail, computer files, soda cans, yogurts, streaming taste, music choices, tee-shirts, sporting goods, you name it. Nothing is off limits during the runup to birth.

 

The nesting season makes the first trimester seem like the Commodores fifth studio album, easy like Sunday morning! Every day, every hour, of every minute your wife has an idea for something “we” should do. There is just something you need to keep in mind when your wife is eight months pregnant, there is no we. Because, even if you acquiesce and let your wife do something, anything, everyone will think you have about as much class as Yasiel Puig.

 

IT NEEDED MOWING!

 

For example, my wife, now eight months pregnant, is very active and likes to take care of the garden at our house. The other day she was mowing the lawn and our neighbors started a petition to have me evicted. It took me two hours to convince them she likes working in the garden. My wife was unable to plead her own case at the time because she was putting in  plastic water pipes underneath the house. Did I mention she likes plumbing?

 

One other concept that will elude your wife during the nesting season is “later”. There is a definite immediacy to the nesting season. Nothing can be put off, shelved or delayed, it is like being married to a twenty-four second shot clock.

 

“Hon, why don’t we clean the top of the refrigerator?” your wife asks.

 

“Let’s do it tomorrow,” you reply.

 

At about 2:30 in the morning you get up for a glass of water and find your wife standing by the refrigerator waiting for you. It’s a little unsettling!